Planning activity is often associated in the popular mind with disruptions and eyesores: the motorway that leaps across the urban landscape, dividing neighbourhoods and disrupting perspectives; the housing estate given prizes for design that is a nightmare to live in. Yet the planning project of the twentieth century grew in response to the challenge of rapid urban development occurring in a piecemeal fashion in the industrialising nineteenth century. This created burgeoning urban complexes, where dynamism co-existed with extreme pollution, congestion, poverty and health hazards, the ‘city of dreadful night’ (see Hall 1988). Today, urban megalopolises with multiple centres where many millions of people live, work and do business have emerged in many parts of the world. The challenge is to make urban places liveable, sustainable and accessible, both in their centres and in other places where people congregate and live.
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